Local soil preparation publication receives international award


Local publication Soil Preparation for Sustainable Wine and Table Grape Production (Soil Preparation), by Dr Johan van Zyl and Dr Eduard Hoffman, won the Sustainable Vitiviniculture category at the 2020 International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) Awards.

The 2020 OIV Awards mark 90 years since the inception of the awards. According to OIV communications, this year has seen a particularly diverse range of submissions, with 25 countries in four continents represented across the eleven categories.

The prestigious OIV Awards are internationally recognised in the vitivinicultural sector. Soil Preparation covers knowledge gleaned from research and practical experience that accumulated in South Africa over the past 100 years. The project was a joint venture between Winetech, the South African Table Grape Industry (SATI) and Villa.

Experts in their field

Both authors are soil scientists and are currently involved in the Department of Soil Science at Stellenbosch University. They have extensive experience in research and teaching in the soil science field.

The book addresses all aspects of soil preparation. It not only gives practical information but also explains the background to recommendations and provides experimental evidence in support. Plenty of photos throughout the book help to illustrate and explain the concepts.

The authors of Soil Preparation. From the left are Dr Johan van Zyl and Dr Eduard Hoffman. (Photograph: David Savage)

Dr Van Zyl said this award was an honour and a very pleasant surprise for both him and co-author, Dr Hoffman. “We really enjoyed writing the book and the award is a bonus. We are also grateful to the sponsors, Winetech, SATI and Villa for making this possible and allowing us to embark on this project.

“The award doesn’t just acknowledge the authors. It is also a testament to the world-class research that is conducted in South Africa by numerous researchers. Furthermore, it shows what can be achieved with effective teamwork between the authors, sponsors, industry organisations and designers.”

“I grew up on a farm in the Free State where, from a young age, I spent many hours behind a tractor wheel. I was fascinated by how implements used for cultivation work and affect the soil,” said Dr Hoffman. He has always worked in the soil science field, both as researcher and lecturer. He enjoys sharing his knowledge and experience, which is why authoring this book was very gratifying.

South Africa leads in soil preparation

South African vineyard soils are mostly shallow and, in many cases, have high acidity. Consequently, these soils must be modified (prepared) before vineyards can be successfully established to yield sustainably in the long run. Therefore, South Africa has been a world leader in the discipline of soil preparation for many years.

The book is a culmination of both authors’ years of experience and published research articles on compaction in vineyards. This publication is a useful guide for suitable and correct soil preparation. It is suitable for producers, contractors and students. In fact, it can be used as an academic textbook to inform students about compaction and how to rectify it.

If you are interested in obtaining a copy of this book, enquiries can be sent to Lucinda Heyns at lucinda@winetech.co.za. Books subject to availability. – Lucinda Heyns, Winetech